March 16, 2002

A group of North Carolina foundations, led by the Warner Foundation and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, is in the initial phases of launching the Funders Collaborative for Strong Latino Communities in North Carolina. The Collaborative, a national and transnational initiative managed by Hispanics in Philanthropy, matches resources from national foundations with those of local foundations to support Latino nonprofit organizations.

The North Carolina foundations' contributions -- which will be doubled by the national program that is funded by the Ford Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and others -- will strengthen small to medium-sized Latino-led agencies in the state. Grants generally will be made to build the capacity of organizations with budgets less than $2 million that have a majority of Latinos serving as staff or board members and that are focused on providing services to Latinos. Other grants also may support the development of Latino leadership within nonprofit agencies.

The Warner Foundation has approved $100,000 and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation $500,000 to support the collaborative effort. Part of the Reynolds commitment is structured as a challenge to match contributions from foundations in up to five regions of the state. Spurred by these efforts, other North Carolina foundations are considering contributions to the collaborative. Combined with the 1:1 match provided by the national foundations, the final amount could grow significantly beyond $1.2 million by the time the initiative starts designing its grants process in September.

"The Warner Foundation has dedicated considerable energy to bringing this collaborative to North Carolina, because the manner in which we support the emerging Latino immigrant population and respond to our changing demographics is a defining moment for the state," said Tony Pipa, executive director of the foundation, which is based in Durham and is focused on improving economic opportunity and race relations in the state. "We especially liked the Collaborative's emphasis on strengthening and developing the leadership of Latinos themselves to represent and serve their community."

"The potential for leveraging resources has been amplified by Z. Smith Reynolds' generous commitment to the Collaborative and its leadership in challenging other foundations to get involved," he added.

"We felt this was an exceptional opportunity for the philanthropic community in North Carolina to increase the impact of our efforts by working together on one of the most important issues facing the state today," responded Tom Ross, executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. "Not only will this initiative connect us to other efforts occurring around the nation, it gives us a forum for combining different types of resources -- financial, intellectual, and social -- to support our new neighbors in creative and innovative ways."

Grants will be made through an open and competitive process that will begin in the fall. A committee comprised of participating North Carolina and some national funders will design and manage the grantmaking process and determine final selections. Recipients of grant awards will be eligible to participate in peer-learning opportunities with grantees of the collaborative from other parts of the country and Latin America.

Hispanics in Philanthropy, an affinity group of the Council on Foundations whose mission is to expand Latino philanthropy and increase the number of Latinos working in philanthropy, launched the Funders Collaborative for Strong Latino Communities with the goal of raising $16.5 million over five years. The Collaborative already has grantmaking underway in Northern California and the Central Valley, Colorado, Upper Midwest, Connecticut and the Delaware Valley (Philadelphia). The North Carolina initiative will be the first in the Southeastern United States.

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